City gets money for Bay Street trail

A scenic but often dangerous section of Bay Street may soon get a safety upgrade thanks to a $300,000 grant recently approved by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Maher Abed, the director of Port Orchard’s Public Works Department, said the funds were appropriated as part of the federal Transportation Enhancement Program and will be used to add a curb, sidewalk, bike lane and guard rail to the section of Bay Street that begins at Mitchell Avenue and ends at Tracy Avenue, near the city limits.

“Ultimately, we hope to connect it to the Mosquito Fleet Trail (that Kitsap County is planning),” said Abed, explaining that the approximately mile-long section is just a small part of the recreational trail that county planners hope someday to have hugging most of the peninsula.

In his application for the funds, Abed noted that several sections of the stretch are dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians, in particular an area just west of the Creative Kids Learning Center that “(has no) shoulder, forcing (them) into the roadway and motorized traffic into the opposite lane.”

While other areas of the section do have a sidewalk and railing installed, they are both “in very poor condition (and) there are several potential hazards, including potholes and a missing railing.”

In addition to the safety hazards Abed hopes this project will address, he also described the road’s significance as “a gateway to historic downtown Port Orchard.

“The portion of Bay Street that will be enhanced in this project is currently a major thoroughfare for walkers and cyclists, and the improvements would make the path a safe and enjoyable way for them to reach downtown,” Abed wrote.

Abed said the current grant will be used for preliminary engineering, while, according to the application, the entire project is expected to cost $1.8 million. The construction — slated for 2009 — is estimated at $1 million, with $500,000 needed to purchase the right-of-way.

The project is included in both the city’s Six-Year Transportation Plan for the Washington State Department of Transportation and the 2004 Port Orchard Economic Development Plan, along with the county’s Mosquito Fleet Trail Master Plan and its Bicycle Facilities Plan.

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